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Tower of Rowena, March 14, 2022
General Recommendation: I definitely recommend this game, especially if you’re fond of discovery-based puzzle games.
Preview: You go around the tower in an open map, coming up with solutions to various problems that will let you get the treasures. Much of the game is exploring the tower, and fiddling with different objects and activities as you search for the treasures.
Basic Plot & Coherence:
As an open map exploration game, this game doesn’t really need a nuanced plot. The plot that does exist works perfectly, and provides an intriguing and engaging frame for the exploration of the tower. Rowena’s tower was filled with a number of fascinating details that fleshed out the feel of exploration and discovery. Even after finding all 17 treasures, I was left with the lingering feeling that there was more to explore, which is exactly the mood a really good puzzle game evokes. Kudos to the author!
Characters & Development:
Again, as a puzzle game, the characters don’t really need a personality, yet though character was by no means the focus of the game, I thought the author did a good job fleshing out the thief’s character. I really got a sense of the main character’s personality through the narration and the phrasing of the choices.
No problems here.
Mastery of Language:
I quite liked the use of language here. Though there was nothing special about it, the narration in this game brought just the right humorous and lighthearted mood to it.
Mechanics & Coding:
The coding allows for an open-map exploration game, and all the items are coded excellently. The bag of holding mechanic allows the player to easily review their progress.
This isn’t a traditional story, and doesn’t have branching.
Player Options/fair choice:
All of the puzzles had fair, and retrospectively logical solutions. The player always had options for things to do and places to search, and there were no obvious solutions that you weren’t allowed to try. I really felt like I could do anything I wanted in this game, which I don’t usually get from storygames.
Nitpicks: Were we supposed to be able to find a way to free the prince? I never found a way to do that.
I found all 17 treasures. I thought the mechanic for getting to the roof was particularly clever. I kept falling off the tower and dying because I thought my strength potion would let me climb better. I particularly liked the way the log was used to solve both the first and last puzzle of the game.
CONCLUSION: A fun and approachable puzzle game with a lot of character.